ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rays starter Alex Cobb walked the second and fourth batters in the first inning and escaped the jam with a strikeout. Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez walked the second and fourth batters in the first inning and escaped the jam with a strikeout.
Somebody hold me.
Nick Markakis fanned to end the Orioles’ rally. Wil Myers fanned to end the Rays rally.
Delmon Young, in his first career at-bat against Gonzalez, doubled down the left field line leading off the bottom of the second. The next two batters popped up and Yunel Escobar bounced to third.
Steve Clevenger lost James Loney’s pop up in The Trop ceiling, holding out his arms in a slight panic before racing back to the screen and making the catch. It’s tricky here.
It’s also Star Wars Day, and I’m still working on a C-3PO joke. Give me time. I’m kind of sluggish today.
Both teams have used only one pitcher as the game moves to the top of the third inning. Pick up the pace, fellas. Records are made to be broken, even the ones set less than 24 hours ago.
Closer Jim Johnson didn’t pitch last night, but he stood on the bullpen mound so many times, baseball in hand and eyes fixed on the field, that it seemed as though he worked multiple innings.
Johnson warmed up. He loosened his arm. He stretched his back. As the game wore on, he did less and less to get ready in case he actually was needed in a save situation.
No sense using up all those bullets in the bullpen. And you know how manager Buck Showalter tries to avoid having his relievers throw without actually getting in the game. We’re all familiar with the term he uses. Shout it out loud.
Johnson is available to pitch today.
“You notice how he did it,” Showalter said. “He never took it to the full level. He’s fine.”
For everyone who’s asking, Showalter has no intention of pitching Chris Davis again. One and done. He was, however, intrigued by the possibility of using outfielder Chris Dickerson in an emergency.
“I think he would throw real hard,” Showalter said. “I don’t know if Dan Johnson’s got a knuckleball.”
Showalter asked Manny Machado if he wanted to pitch last night. Machado was all in, but Showalter was joking.
Batting leadoff was enough for one night. One very long night.
Update: The Orioles got their first hit today with two outs in the fifth inning on Clevenger’s single into right field.
The Orioles had two hits in the last 15 hits, both infield singles.
Showalter is intrigued by Clevenger’s bat. He keeps comparing the Baltimore native to former major leaguer Scott Bradley.
Cobb has seven strikeouts in five innings. Alexi Casilla has twice taken a called third strike. Danny Valencia also has fanned twice.